Horror as a genre is not necessarily known for an abundance of compelling concepts.
The aim of the game is to horrify, and this does not require a Christopher Nolan-esque level of inspiration. Just ask the producers of 2023's Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, a slasher based take on AA Milne's classic children's storybook; audiences are more than willing to turn a blind eye to what might be described as a less than inspiring central premise in the hopes of seeing some ludicrously over-the-top, blood and guts laced carnage.
By and large, a good masked serial killer, psychotic cannibal or monstrous CGI demon works just fine and dandy for vast swathes of horror filmmakers. Even on the rare occasions where production find themselves with a doozy of an idea to utilize, it is not exactly uncommon for the film to shoot itself in the foot - completely abandoning their engrossing plot point in favour of tried, tested and endlessly played out genre tropes. After all, why try and do something original when you can throw in a jump scare?
In all seriousness, there's a legitimately melancholic aura associated with some of the inhabitants of this list in terms of wasted potential. Many of the ideas featured were absolutely inspired in the early goings, only compounding the sense of frustration as they ultimately came to naught.
10. The Boy
2016's The Boy began in gripping fashion.
A young nanny is tasked by an eccentric old couple with the care of Brahms - a life-size porcelain doll, who they treat (in entirely non-creepy fashion, obviously) as their son. A sinister tale of mystery with a healthy dose of terrifying supernatural elements appears primed to unfold after a series of paranormal events, before any potential for a satisfactory experience goes up in flames north of the midway point.
Simply put, The Boy's infamous twist completely ruins the movie - a complete U-turn in identity and tone that shears William Brent Bell's picture of any credibility as a well-written horror movie. As opposed to taking advantage of the eerie atmosphere cultivated from the first moments, the reveal that the real Brahms has been living in the house's walls the entire time has the effect of uprooting the film from the horror genre and plonking it down clumsily in psychological thriller territory.
This would all be fine but for the considerable effort The Boy had carefully taken to establish itself as a horror, meaning that the entire experience feels somewhat cheapened. A vengeful young boy represents a compelling character in himself, with the notion of him being able to manipulate the real world through the creepiest of dolls providing a solid bedrock for an enjoyable fright flick. As such, what appeared to be a bona fide hit in the making stands as yet another case of what might have been.